Coimbatore: With poaching and illegal wildlife trade emerging as a major threat, Tamil Nadu is gearing up to welcome its first sniffer dog trained to sniff around the jungles and curb wildlife crime.
The dog, Shini, a German Shepherd, is likely to be dispatched from Bhopal on June 24 to Tamil Nadu. She is one among 14 dogs that have been trained jointly by TRAFFIC, the wildlife trade monitoring network and WWF-India to be deployed by different states across India.
The dog has been trained at the Dog Training Centre of the 23rd Battalion Special Armed Force in Bhopal to sniff out wildlife products such as tiger and leopard bones, skins and bear bile.
The dog has also been taught to detect wildlife products kept buried underground by poachers. The dog, along with its two handlers, will reach Tamil Nadu by June 27,” said Dhrupa Dutta, programme co-ordinator of TRAFFIC.
Though sniffer dogs deployed in other states have been doing a brilliant work in curbing wildlife crimes, it is yet to be seen, how it works out in Tamil Nadu. “This dog is likely to be deployed for duty in the Srivilliputhur Wild Life Sanctuary as sought by the Tamil Nadu forest department. In the future, we will pursue with the Centre and acquire more dogs to guard the tiger reserves in Satyamangalam, Anaimalai, Mudumalai, besides Chennai,” said Shekhar Kumar Niraj, an IFS officer and head of TRAFFIC in India.
“Thirteen sniffer dogs, which were trained and deployed in different states in the earlier batch, have proved successful and made more than 100 significant seizures since 2008. One of the dogs, Jimmy, was even awarded a Certificate of Merit by the Governor of Madhya Pradesh in 2013 after it helped bust at least 25 wildlife poaching and smuggling cases,” he said.
With the forest department and enforcement agencies facing a major challenge in wildlife crime prevention as poachers and traders are employing new tools and technologies to expand their illicit business, the use of sniffer dogs is likely to be an effective tool for detection of wildlife crime. “Though the volume of illegal wildlife trade is not known, seizures of ivory, tiger and leopard parts have been high in Tamil Nadu,” Mr Shekhar Kumar Niraj said.
Location: Tamil Nadu